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Insights Returning to work after maternity leave.

25 February 2020

We’d like you to meet Susan, Programme and Change Manager at Atkins, a member of the AtkinsRéalis Group. She's just had a baby! So we got in touch to see how she's doing and feeling about getting back to her team at ADS&T.

Image of Susan

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! How is maternity leave going?

My maternity leave is going very well, thank you. With my Line Manager's support, even better! I'm using my Keep In Touch Days to stay relevant to Atkins. I'm volunteering for surveys (like this one), catching up on any changes with Atkins by reading newsletters, keeping up to date with emails and courses, and supporting any other areas for business development.

Tell us a little about what you do at Atkins.

As a Programme and Change Manager, I have two different roles with accompanying responsibilities.

As a Programme Manager, I'm responsible for delivering overall programmes which bring change to organizations. Such changes can be categorized under Business or IT change, for example. A Programme Manager is like a graduated Project Manager, responsible for delivering programmes by managing a range of projects. These can vary in cost from hundreds of thousands to billion-pound projects. Generally, in most organizations, multiple projects sit under one programme.

As a Change Manager, I work with people like project directors or sponsors who would adopt business/IT changes introduced by my projects. So I ensure that any new products are implemented with little or no disruption to business as usual. I'm the one who ensures relevant communications are fed to the sponsors and users of new IT equipment. I can also help structure training and put support in place.

What can you achieve at Atkins that you can do nowhere else?

At Atkins, I feel I can achieve the flexibility of work and career support to progress. The organization is very good at training and developing staff to a level unrivalled in the industry. More than that, Atkins also encourages us to belong to professional bodies and puts the right support and mentoring schemes in place so we can only succeed.

What has Atkins helped you realize about yourself?

When I challenge myself, I can deliver a task above and beyond my initial expectations. Just two months after joining in September 2018, I was seconded to a delivery project with a Government Organization. We'd recently won this contract, and the company was looking to expand its Client range in the sector. So our Client Director was trusting me to achieve the high-quality work Atkins is known for. I took on the role of Planning and Change Manager, delivering five grades over my initial employment grade. I was initially apprehensive, but with everyone's support, I was able to make a positive impact at the Client's site and be the best I could be!

How are you feeling about getting back to the world of work?

I'm consciously preparing myself to return at the end of my maternity leave and excited about being an active part of ADS&T and the wider Atkins team again.

How is Atkins supporting you?

Apart from Keeping in Touch, I have regular meetings with my Line Manager, and I've been offered opportunities to do in house training. I'm also going to be doing the Online Returners Programme for coming back from parental leave. It has practical sessions on career next-steps, balancing home and work, and telephone coaching. 

I'm a fan of the company's Flexible Working culture. When I was still working full time, I worked from home on Fridays. This was a benefit of working with my Client at the time because no Consultants were expected on site. Most importantly, it enabled me to meet up with my midwife.

Are you planning on making any changes to your work pattern?

So far, I plan to return full time with the hope of using more Flexible Working arrangements. For example, early starts and early finishes or late starts and late finishes. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes.

How would you like to work with other women as talented as you? Our vision is to see more of our female employees in senior roles like Susan. So we're investing in our women at all career stages and making our workplaces better for everyone. To see where you'll fit in, apply here.